- Kuwait Times Extra
Most domestic maids working in Kuwait address their mistress or sponsor as ‘madam’ or ‘mama.’ But this does not ensure that the maid will be treated as a daughter or even as a step daughter. She may curtsey before her mistress, but she should not expect to be accorded the same courtesy in return. I feel sorry for these maids who are forced to work hard by the powerful elite and on the basis of the country’s legal framework, but are still not respected or treated well in return.
The maids often belong to different cultures, some of them are not even used to another woman addressing them with a raised voice regardless of good or bad times, and are even less familiar with the verbal abuse directed at them by their ‘mama’ or ‘madam.’ Some mistresses think that if they don’t beat there maids they are treating them kindly and that their employee should have no reason to complain and that they shouldn’t mind putting up with verbal abuse when their employer ill treats them in anger. Those women fail to see that such behavior is also regarded as abuse and can be as harmful as the abuse, which is of a physical kind. I also blame the recruitment agencies who place these maids in these households and don’t prepare them in advance by teaching them how to handle situations like this.
Most maids normally come from a poor background, which fails to educate them on how to deal with their new environment. It’s very normal that when a person moves to a new country, he or she needs some time to adjust themselves to the people around them, especially those who find employment and have to get used to their bosses. The boss and his wife might not treat this newcomer well, even though he or she has been employed based on their requirements.
Not all sponsors or employers are mean though, some do treat their employees with consideration, while others can be problematic and so can their children. I am of the view that such relationships between the employer and the employee are existent all over the world, but at least in the west or developed countries there are certain laws that govern the process of hiring someone’s services and which also do not give you the license to enslave someone.
Therefore, there is an urgent need for spreading awareness about this issue, especially through the media, about how our domestic servants need to be treated, but I think we are still a long way from attaining the ideal circumstances which will allow fair and kind treatment of our maids.
By Muna Al-Fuzai
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